Fab hwk (enclosures)

So my objective this week was to mix school with professional projects and make the prototype for a light board I am building for a seller. I start by making the LED matrix and I procured acrylic panels with powder coating. The acrylic is 1/2 inch thick and my primary task was to find out how far the standoff distance between the board and acrylic should be. I found it differed depending on the sample (I had several boards), and but for the one I was using (Material: Chroma 1/2″, Finish: Vellum F04, Style: Glacier D05) the optimal distance was approx 1/2”.

Thanks for the standoffs, Ben. I went to Ace after Applications and got appropriate sized 3/4” 4-40 screws. Then all I had to do was drill the holes! Easy, right? I didn’t know how exactly to plot the holes except to use the right angle of the ruler and plot a point at the end. 

I used the drill press but somehow despite my best efforts, the holes did not line up because I first drilled the MDF, THEN I drilled the acrylic. In hindsight, I would have ensured they all lined up by drilling them together. 

Thus, three holes aligned and one was very un-aligned. 

I replaced the screw anyway for esthetic purposes. But as you can see, they’re a little crooked. Next time I will fix a jig to ensure both pieces don’t move and are tot when I drill them. Lesson learned. That said, for prototyping purposes it will be fine. 

Taoism and PWM

In the Tao Te Ching it is written:


The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).
PWM gives birth to all things.


In Chinese: 道生一,一生二,二生PWM,PWM生萬物

PComp Quiz (Digital In, Digital Out)

Draw a circuit for connecting a pushbutton as a digital input to a microcontroller. Connect it so that the digital input pin gies HIGH when the button is pushed. What does the resistor (called a pulldown resistor) do?

A pulldown resistor makes a higher voltage lower but offering degrees of resistance so that the current that flows through it is smaller, like a funnel.

Write a program that reads a digital input to an Arduino and turns off an LED whenever the digital input goes LOW. Draw the schematic that goes with this program as well.

if(analogRead(SwitchPin,HIGH)) { digitalWrite(LedPIN,HIGH); }

Write a program that reads a digital input and prints out a message when the input changes from HIGH to LOW.


Thoughts on NYCMediaLab17

The environment was completely inappropriate to view art. My light installation was by the door, nearly knocked over by people, where a viewer could not get a clear view without others walking by. (See below)

I felt it was below the dignity of my art and in a silent hissy fit, i unplugged it. But then I decided not be such a easily hurt buttercup and sucked it up and just rolled with a suboptimal situation.

That said, my Lessons learned:

-tradeshows are not art galleries!

-be very clear about the showing space! Get pics or do a site visit!

-dont bring a meditative art piece to a busy art show

-that said, i still got the point across and people were exposed, so no harm done.

Overall it was great to see tech from a corporate/startup angle. Very diff from art/maker culture. Similar but different.

Like priests vs mytics.

I felt the corporate yes-yes-great! cukture at work. I can see how an echo chamber develops.

There was a lot of buzzwords, superficial elucidation and glossing over negatives.

Overall great event, very eye opening.

Pcomp Week 3

Digital output, analog input.

For this assignment I took an existing thing I made for week 1 of fabrication, which was a light fixture device I wanted to use to study colours next to each other. Basically two pots controlled the brightness of the neopixels on each side of the steel beam. One side is blue, one side is orange. (When I have more time I will code them to change hue in addition to just brightness.)

however, after that first week, I basically did something wrong to the Nano that was powering it when I tried to put more power into the neopixels. I had previously been running it on very low power (like 10 of 255) so as to not tax the power supply or nano. But something happened and the nano stopped working. Perhaps it was because I wired the 12V power supply directly into the nano and supplied the neopixels with power directly and only from the arduino.

So I rewired it to a new arduino, and since i think the last error had something to do with using the 12V power supply overloading the nano (my hypothesis) I thought I would run it through a LM7805 power regulator. That is, the power supply would power the neopixels exclusively through the power regulator instead of getting it from the 5V arduino output.

The end result is that the whole thing works when I power the arduino through the USB, but does not work properly when I do it through the 12V 1A wall wart power supply. I’m not sure why….

Fab week 3

At first, I was planning on doing a somewhat complex art piece for a friend…. BUT THEN I got off the plane (was in Canada for a friend’s wedding this weekend) and went straight to ITP and realized I didn’t have time for any of that — esp since I had never used Ai or laser cut anything — ever. So I settled for just cutting something I found on Thingaverse!

I cut it on cardboard and it was good to go through the work flow of actually cutting something. I started at speed 70% power 50% and it did not cut through the second layer of cardboard. Also the protrusion from the top of the cardboard caught on the laser arm and shifted the whole thing, so I couldn’t go over it again.

A new (cleaner) piece of cardboard and 3 passes later (my last setting was 33% speed and 90% power) the thing was finally cut!

The cut piece itself was find. I mean, it was expected. But what was unexpected was all these cool leftover pieces. They kind of looked like arabic script. So I decide to do some kind of collage piece with them! Felt good to do some art-art again.

Kind of arabic-script looking eh? I like it. This open possibilities for collage.